Is Obama an American Fascist?
Is the United States fascist? Is it becoming a Fascist state?
Such accusation are freely offered, and thrown around, often without the discussion of the full meaning a Fascism. We need to start with a definition, because the term ‘fascist’ is often misused, leading to confusion. Here’s what George Orwell said, in 1944:
…the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else … Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.
We need to take care when using the label, or epithet, because it is misused. So we’d suggest using a set of tests, for discovery and discussion. As usual the Marxists have a useful set of tests, and their predilections are well documented. Marxists do have an axe to grind, but also, they have the only model of capitalism, and an analytical approach.
So, let’s start with the definition of Fascism, from Merriam-Webster:
Philosophy of government that stresses the primacy and glory of the state, unquestioning obedience to its leader, subordination of the individual will to the state’s authority, and harsh suppression of dissent. Martial virtues are celebrated, while liberal and democratic values are disparaged. Fascism arose during the 1920s and ’30s partly out of fear of the rising power of the working classes; it differed from contemporary communism (as practiced under Joseph Stalin) by its protection of business and landowning elites and its preservation of class systems.
Here’s our summary of the Marxist set of 9 tests, from the Encyclopedia of Marxism (complete text below), and our comments: From Wikipedia,
- Opportunistic Right Wing – An appearance of Negotiating, but no good faith.
- Nationalistic and Militaristic – Can be measured in $.
- Strongly Hierarchal – Goes with authoritarian.
- And following from strongly hierarchical, Anti-equality
- Religious – we’d say Dogmatic. There are many forms of Religion.
- Capitalist – Interesting conflict between religious teachings and Capitalism
- War Loving – See (2) above, and seems redundant.
- Voluntarist Subjective Ideology – Again, seems redundant as it’s another way of saying dogmatic.
- Anti-Modern – dogmatically Traditional, which also appears redundant because it repeats Anti-equality and Dogma, combines.
We note that several of the characteristics above are repeated in slightly different form in the nine categories; for example, Militaristic, Authoritarian and War-loving go together. Similarly, hierarchical and religious go together; dogmatism can be viewed as a subset of both hierarchy and some (but not all) forms of religious behavior. Boiling down their list to its essentials, we get our set of tests:
- Opportunistic Authoritarian – An appearance of Negotiating, but no good faith.
- Nationalistic and Militaristic – Can be measured in $.
- Beliefs are Dogma – See Authoritarian
- Capitalist and thus Rent Seeking – Another Dogma, the Markets Know Best.
Let’s apply some data to the tests:
- Opportunist Authoritarian
- Nationalistic and Militaristic
- Beliefs/Dogma: Israel, Egypt, Markets, “What’s good for General Motors is Good for the United States…”
- Capitalist: Cutting Taxes, Supply-side economics, privatizing the commons (selling the family silver) to pay the bills…Public/Private partnerships to gouge Americans on a recurring basis
Bush: ‘Compassionate Conservative’, ‘I am the Decider’, ‘You are either for Us or Against Us’
Obama: ‘Look Forward not Backward’, Imprisoning Whistleblowers, Canceling Edward Snowden’s Passport, TPP (Take it as is, no negotiation), TTIP, and TISA
Drone Kill List, Military Budget > the Next 20 or 50 Nations, American Exceptionalism, 12 Carrier Groups, Largest Nuclear Arsenal on the Planet, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, ISIS…
We note that both the previous Bush administration and the current Obama administration fulfill various characteristics which are used to define fascism. To us, it appears that Bush made a start, following in the footsteps of Reagan, and Obama worked hard to complete the list. As far as being authoritarian, the current President has an extraordinary record of accomplishments:
- He persecuted and continues to persecute whistleblowers, while claiming to run a transparent and accountable government.
- He attacks people who criticize him, and persecutes people who inform Americans when their fearless leader allows the government to violate Americans’ rights (see whistleblowers: Snowden, Manning, et al.)
- Obama has had his own Dogma from day 1: “Look forward, not backward.” Using this dogma, Obama has excused the Wall Street gamblers and banksters who gambled their way into the financial disasters in 2008. While it may be Christian to forgive sinners, blanket forgiveness, (also known as turning a blind eye) invites unrepentant sinners to continue misbehaving in an ever-increasing manner. He needed to spank those guilty of bad behavior, but instead, he threw his support behind the businesses which were misbehaving, and used American taxpayers’ money to do it.
- From 3, we see that Obama has supported businesses. US citizens are being pillaged by business, and the federal government has done little to prevent or correct it.
- Public-Private Partnerships have been pushed by the Obama government, resulting in Americans being asked to pay tolls – effectively to pay RENT on bridges or highways which the government already owns. The rent is to provide income to private investors.
You can find many examples of these behaviors in the news archives. Taken together, we believe they express an attitude, a system of beliefs that closely fit the standard characteristics of fascism. The one difference with Obama is that he disclaims being right wing – but just look at his behavior. Even that characteristic fits – he just doesn’t announce it.
So here’s the list of defining characteristics of Fascism from the online version of the Encyclopedia of Marxism. If you don’t like their list, search for Lawrence Britt, who wrote an article in 2003 giving 14 characteristics of Fascism.
We invite you to compare Obama’s behavior with either (or both) of the two above lists of fascist behaviors, and come to your own conclusion about whether or not there’s a fit. We think there is.
Appendix: Definitions from the Encyclopedia of Marxism
- Right Wing: Fascists are fervently against: Marxism, Socialism, Anarchism, Communism, Environmentalism; etc – in essence, they are against the progressive left in total, including moderate lefts (social democrats, etc). Fascism is an extreme right wing ideology, though it can be opportunistic.
- Nationalism: Fascism places a very strong emphasis on patriotism and nationalism. Criticism of the nation’s main ideals, especially war, is lambasted as unpatriotic at best, and treason at worst. State propaganda consistently broadcasts threats of attack, while justifying pre-emptive war. Fascism invariably seeks to instill in its people the warrior mentality: to always be vigilant, wary of strangers and suspicious of foreigners.
- Hierarchy: Fascist society is ruled by a righteous leader, who is supported by an elite secret vanguard of capitalists. Hierarchy is prevalent throughout all aspects of society – every street, every workplace, every school, will have its local Hitler, part police-informer, part bureaucrat – and society is prepared for war at all times. The absolute power of the social hierarchy prevails over everything, and thus a totalitarian society is formed. Representative government is acceptable only if it can be controlled and regulated, direct democracy (e.g. Communism) is the greatest of all crimes. Any who oppose the social hierarchy of fascism will be imprisoned or executed.
- Anti-equality: Fascism loathes the principles of economic equality and disdains equality between immigrant and citizen. Some forms of fascism extend the fight against equality into other areas: gender, sexual, minority or religious rights, for example.
- Religious: Fascism contains a strong amount of reactionary religious beliefs, harking back to times when religion was strict, potent, and pure. Nearly all Fascist societies are Christian, and are supported by Catholic and Protestant churches.
- Capitalist: Fascism does not require revolution to exist in capitalist society: fascists can be elected into office (though their disdain for elections usually means manipulation of the electoral system). They view parliamentary and congressional systems of government to be inefficient and weak, and will do their best to minimize its power over their policy agenda. Fascism exhibits the worst kind of capitalism where corporate power is absolute, and all vestiges of workers’ rights are destroyed.
- War: Fascism is capitalism at the stage of impotent imperialism. War can create markets that would not otherwise exist by wreaking massive devastation on a society, which then requires reconstruction! Fascism can thus “liberate” the survivors, provide huge loans to that society so fascist corporations can begin the process of rebuilding.
- Voluntarist Ideology: Fascism adopts a certain kind of “voluntarism;” they believe that an act of will, if sufficiently powerful, can make something true. Thus all sorts of ideas about racial inferiority, historical destiny, even physical science, are supported by means of violence, in the belief that they can be made true. It is this sense that Fascism is subjectivist
- Anti-Modern: Fascism loathes all kinds of modernism, especially creativity in the arts, whether acting as a mirror for life (where it does not conform to the Fascist ideal), or expressing deviant or innovative points of view. Fascism invariably burns books and victimises artists; artists who do not promote the fascists ideals are seen as “decadent.” Fascism is hostile to broad learning and interest in other cultures, since such pursuits threaten the dominance of fascist myths.